Whatnot & PSA Expand Partnership To Grade Funko Pops
Live shopping platform Whatnot is expanding their partnership with Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) to offer grading for Funko POPS! sold on the marketplace.
JERSEY CITY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) and leading livestream shopping platform Whatnot announce an expanded strategic partnership to offer authentication and grading services for the massively popular Funko Pops!. Individuals who buy Pops! through Whatnot can now have them authenticated and graded by PSA with just a few taps, all before the Pop! is shipped to the collector. The new offering is announced as global demand for collectible items across categories and enthusiasm for live shopping continues to grow.
In 2022, PSA and Whatnot announced the initial launch of their partnership to provide authentication and grading services for trading cards bought on the live shopping platform. The expansion into Pops! is reflective of customer enthusiasm for PSA’s services and the explosive popularity of Whatnot. Over the last several years, Whatnot has captured the excitement of the live shopping experience while focusing on community to create a welcoming space for like-minded people to share their passions.
“Collectors are always looking for new ways to get their hands on desirable items. Whatnot enables everyone to shop for and bid on collectible items with an incredible live auction experience all from the comfort of their homes,” said PSA president Ryan Hoge. “With Pops! often selling for thousands on the secondary market, offering our authentication and grading services for them is a true value-add for any collector.”
“By expanding our partnership with PSA, Pops! buyers have peace of mind that the items they are getting are real and authentic which is incredibly important,” said Whatnot CEO and co-founder Grant Lafontaine. “Interest in live shopping and collecting continue to grow and with Whatnot and PSA, buyers can seamlessly have their Pops! and trading cards authenticated and graded right when they purchase their product.”
"The ability to have the ever increasing amount of fake Pops!, sticker swaps, and inconsistent subjective advertised condition of Funko Pops! eliminated through PSA's authentication and grading service is the future of the hobby," said owner of TOY CABAL Darius DiMartino. "PSA is leading the charge of my favorite category of collectibles and bringing sound investment potential for Pops! collectors."
Last year, PSA added authentication and grading of Pops! to rave reviews from the Funko Pops! collecting community, thereby bringing its industry-leading services to collectible toys. Since then, PSA has received thousands of direct submissions from customers and dealers. When individuals select to add PSA’s services to their Pops! through Whatnot, their items will automatically be authenticated, graded and encapsulated before being shipped back to the buyer.
Whatnot originally announced PSA would be providing trading card grading services as an optional add on in December 2022, so this expansion is not a surprise.
These moves are a clear shot across the bow aimed directly at eBay, who worked out a deal to be the "preferred" secondary marketplace for Funko Pops as part of a consortium taking a 25% stake in the company.
It's a good reminder that just because you may be the "preferred" marketplace on paper doesn't mean you are preferred in the hearts and minds of buyers and sellers.
eBay's own livestream shopping initiative has lagged far behind Whatnot - it does not support auction format (only buy it now) and is still only open to a very select number of pre-approved, curated sellers, not the wider general selling base.
eBay has some serious catching up to do if they hope to keep the scrappy up and comer from taking even more market share in their precious vertical focus categories.